Sharing Parental Responsibilities

Ohio family laws recognize that, unless special issues exist, preserving relationships between children and both parents "is of greatest importance" after separation or divorce.* Indeed, research shows that children who have healthy relationships with both parents perform better in school, are better able to make friends, and are less prone to depression, anxiety and other affective disorders.

As a result, most of our state's courts place an emphasis on "shared parenting." That is, family law judges are careful to ensure that both parents will have a say in how a child is raised. While a shared parenting arrangement does not necessarily mean that parents split time with their children in an equal, 50-50 manner, it does entail that each will assume some physical and legal care for the child.

What Are A Child's Best Interests?

In making its decrees regarding parental responsibilities, the courts consider several factors. The utmost concern, though, is whether parenting time schedules and parenting privileges are meted out in a way that serves the child's best interests.

To determine this, the courts review:

  • The parents' desires
  • The child's or children's desires
  • The nature of the parent-child relationships
  • The child's or children's adjustment to home, school and community
  • Whether either parent has denied or impeded the other's rights
  • A parent's physical and mental health
  • Whether a parent has been convicted of particular criminal offenses, especially those of a domestic nature
  • Whether either parent has a desire or intent to relocate out of state

At times, the court will cause to be conducted extensive investigations to determine how to determine what's best for the child. Many parents find the process invasive. An attorney can be crucial to protecting one's rights.

Establishing The Parenting Plan

Parents can petition the court to establish shared parenting plans. When doing so, they must submit a proposal concerning how they envision the child will be cared for — what the living arrangements will be, how medical and dental care will be provided, who will pay child support (and how much), how holidays and vacations will be divided. The court may ask the nonpetitioning parent to submit a proposal as well.

A range of considerations — some of them obvious, some of them not — must be included, and in this regard, a lawyer can be crucial to submitting the strongest possible proposal. To learn more or to speak with an attorney, reach out to Hartley Law Office, LLC, today. You can call our firm at 937-684-9271 or reach us online.

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